Thirst for Oil
Worldwide every day, we devour the energy equivalent of about 200 million barrels of oil. Most of the energy on Earth comes from the Sun. In fact enough energy from the Sun hits the planet’s surface each minute to cover our needs for an entire year, we just need to find an efficient way to use it. So far the energy in oil has been cheaper and easier to get at. But as supplies dwindle, this will change, and we will need to cure our addiction to oil.
Burning wood satisfied most energy needs until the steam-driven industrial revolution, when energy-dense coal became the fuel of choice. Coal is still used, mostly in power stations, to cover one quarter of our energy needs, but its use has been declining since we started pumping up oil. Coal is the least efficient, unhealthiest and most environmentally damaging fossil fuel, but could make a comeback, as supplies are still plentiful: its reserves are five times larger than oil’s.
Today petroleum, a mineral oil obtained from below the surface of the Earth and used to produce petrol, diesel oil and various other chemical substances, provides around 40% of the world’s energy needs, mostly fuelling automobiles. The US consumes n quarter of all oil, and generates a similar proportion of greenhouse gas emissions.
The majority of oil comes from the Middle East, which has half of known reserves. But other significant sources include Russia, North America, Norway, Venezuela and the North Sea. Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge1 could be a major new US source, to reduce reliance on foreign imports.
Most experts predict we will exhaust easily accessible reserves within 50 years, though opinions and estimates vary. We could fast reach an energy crisis in the next few decades, when demand exceeds supply. As conventional reserves become more difficult to access, others such as oil shales and tar sands may be used instead. Petrol could also be obtained from coal.
Since we started using fossil fuels, we have released 400 billion tonnes2 of carbon, and burning the entire reserves could eventually raise world temperatures by 130 C. Among other horrors, this would result in the destruction of all rainforests and the melting of all Arctic ice. 词汇: devour /di5vauE/v.吞没，耗尽 accessible /Ek5sesEbl/adj.可使用的，可得到的 dense /dens/adj.密集的 rainforest /5rein5fCrist/n. (热带)雨林 pump /pQmp/v.用泵抽吸 reliance /ri5laiEns/n.依赖，依靠 petroleum /pi5trEuliEm/n.石油，原油 oil shale油页岩 dwindle /5dwindl/v.减少 tar sand沥青砂 diesel oil柴油 destruction /dis5trQkFEn/n.破坏.毁灭注释:
1. Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:美国阿拉斯加北极国家野生动物保护区。 2001年，美国众议院通过了一项基于布什提出的在那里进行石油开采的议案。该议案遭到环境保护主义组织的反对。因此，目前在该区禁止开采石油。
2. tonne:公吨(= 1,000公斤〉。不同于 ton。ton:在美国等于二千磅 (=0.907公吨)，所以称作 short ton:短吨。练习:
1. “… we will need to cure our addiction to oil.”Why does the author say so? A Most of the energy on Earth comes from the Sun. B Oil supply is increasing all the time. C Demand for oil is increasing all the time. D Oil supply is decreasing.
2. Which of the following statements is NOT meant by the author, according to the second paragraph? A Wood was the fuel of choice before coal. B The use of coal is declining. C Coal is the most environmentally unfriendly fuel next to oil. D Coal reserves are plentiful and will be likely to become the major fuel of choice.
3. Which country is the biggest consumer of petroleum? A The United States. B Russia. C Norway. D Venezuela.
4. What do experts say about the earth’s fuel reserves? A The earth’s fuel reserves will be accessible for the next 50 years. B There will soon be an energy crisis. C Conventional reserves will soon become inaccessible. D Fuel demand will decline.
5. What is NOT the result of consuming fossil fuels according to the last paragraph? A Rainforests will be destroyed. B Arctic ice will be melted. C The earth’s temperature will be raised. D The sea level will go up.
1. D 答案在第一段昀后一句中。这里的 supplies指 oil supplies。
2. C短文的第二段告诉我们，木材曾经是主要燃料来源，然后被煤所替代;自人们开始采油后，对煤的需求下降了，但因为媒的储量远大于石油，它可能又会成为主要燃料，尽管它对环境昀具破坏力。所以 A、B、D均是作者的意思，而 C不是。 next to oil除石油以外。
4. B答案在第五段第二句中。该段第一句说，地球上的燃料储量将在 50年内耗尽，所以 A不是正确选择;第三句的意思是，常规燃料的获取将变得困难，而不是不可获得，所以 C也不是正确选择; D明显不是作者的意思。
5. D 选项 A、B、C都是昀后一段中所表达的意思。所以 D是正确选择。